The use and implementation of Ada in distributed environments in which reliability is the primary concern is investigated. Emphasis is placed on the possibility that a distributed system may be programmed entirely in Ada so that the individual tasks of the system are unconcerned with which processors they are executing on, and that failures may occur in the software or underlying hardware. A new linguistic construct, the colloquy, is introduced which solves the problems identified in an earlier proposal, the conversation. It was shown that the colloquy is at least as powerful as recovery blocks, but it is also as powerful as all the other language facilities proposed for other situations requiring backward error recovery: recovery blocks, deadlines, generalized exception handlers, traditional conversations, s-conversations, and exchanges. The major features that distinguish the colloquy are described. Sample programs that were written, but not executed, using the colloquy show that extensive backward error recovery can be included in these programs simply and elegantly. These ideas are being implemented in an experimental Ada test bed.